Even if you’ve never been to Las Vegas, you certainly have a good idea of what goes on there. And, the possibilities are endless! The movie Indecent Proposal with Robert Redford, Demi Moore, and Woody Harrelson depicts a cautionary tale of “high stake” gambling. What Happens in Vegas, with Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz, humors us with a spontaneous “drunken” wedding and a slot machine jackpot. A critical and commercial success, The Hangover (Part I), with Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and company portrays a bachelor party that ran amok. And Ocean’s Eleven (and then Ocean’s Thirteen), led by George Clooney and an all-star cast, engages the audience in a break-in of the Bellagio vault.
Las Vegas draws in all kinds of crowds. The rich and famous partiers, convention participants, elopers, gamblers, vacationers, performing artists, honeymooners, and…the list goes on. It’s a place that lends itself to forming all kinds of memories.
My first time in Vegas was with my husband for a summer getaway. We had a terrific room at the Bellagio, overlooking the famous fountains and the “Eiffel Tower.” I enjoyed the Epcot-type of experience, with all of the themed hotels, grand buffets, and dry heat. I learned how to play Black Jack, steeled myself against the hypnotic sounds of the slot machines, minimized late-night drinking, and vowed to come back again.
My second and third times in Las Vegas were to celebrate my siblings’ fortieth birthdays. I was there with my mother and sister in 2002 and then with my father and brother in 2004. Both of these trips included similar itineraries, starting with suites at the Venetian hotel, but evoke very different memories. My sister, a first-timer at the Black Jack table, couldn’t seem to lose. As a result of her “beginners luck,” we stayed out late every night, came back to our room loudly giggling, and caused our mother to threaten to call our husbands! With my brother and father, on the other hand, we were glued to any TV available during our time together. Consummate Boston Red Sox fans, we found ourselves in Vegas during the American League Championship Series between the Sox and the New York Yankees. It was at an Elton John concert at Caesar’s Palace when, via texting with my husband and nephew, that we learned of Boston’s win – having come back from losing the first three games to win the next four. Elton was thoroughly enjoyed through tears of joy!!
Next week, I’m going back to Las Vegas on a very different trip. This time I’m travelling with my husband, twenty-three-year-old son, and daughter to celebrate her twenty-first birthday. We gave the kids the option of bringing a friend or two, but surprisingly they just wanted to go with us.
So, how does one enjoy Vegas with one’s children? This is definitely a new frontier for us! I know that we’ll start with separate hotel rooms, at least one family dinner at a buffet, a walking tour through all of the hotels on the Strip, and the Cirque du Soleil show “O.” But beyond that? Do we stay together or go our separate ways?
Do I take my daughter to a Chippendales show? Do we take them to a burlesque show? Do we give them money for gambling? Do we go with them to late-night clubs? Do we avoid counting the number of drinks they have?
While I don’t have all of the answers yet, I’m determined to create wonderful (and appropriate) memories for us. I also can promise that whatever happens in Vegas will stay in Vegas…